Formula One’s inaugural Grand Prix of America in New Jersey has been postponed until 2014 due to preparations falling behind schedule, the motor-racing championship’s commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed.
The United States’ second F1 race on the 2013 calendar had been provisionally scheduled for June 16, but the race has now been put back by one year when it is set to debut alongside the inaugural Russian Grand Prix in the Winter Olympic host city of Sochi. “They’ve run out of time,” Ecclestone told Reuters. “There are all sorts of things… and they didn’t quite think it all through. They’ve had a wake-up call but the wake-up call came too late. They couldn’t get everything ready in time. That’s the bottom line.”
Friday’s announcement was not unexpected with the Grand Prix of America project having been plagued with difficulties in recent months. In August, local organisers announced the resignation of president Tom Cotter, who was only appointed to the position in January. Ecclestone had previously expressed his doubts that New Jersey would be ready to commence its 10-year contract next year, and last month stated that organisers had failed to meet deadlines in their race agreement – effectively invalidating their race agreement. The event was set to take place on a picturesque 3.2-mile street circuit alongside the Hudson river and opposite Manhattan’s iconic skyline, and has been a pet project of Ecclestone’s for years.
Race organisers issued a statement following Ecclestone’s comments and admitted that construction issues had impeded preparations. They added that additional time was needed for the development of facilities along the Hudson Riverfront and for finishing the second pits and paddock garage on the site. “We are going to be racing at Port Imperial, unfortunately just not as soon as we hoped and expected,” promoter Leo Hindery, Jr. said. “We remain 100% committed to the Grand Prix of America at Port Imperial.”
Formula One is set to make its long-awaited return to the United States in November after Austin’s Circuit of the Americas was last month given the green light by the International Motorsport Federation (FIA), the sport’s governing body. The United States Grand Prix is set to take place at the brand new facility in the Texan city from November 16-18. The last race to be staged in the US was held in 2007 at Indianapolis. Friday’s announcement concerning the New Jersey race came just days after NBC Sports Group sealed a four-year deal for the exclusive media rights to Formula One in the United States. The agreement, signed by NBC Sports Group and F1’s commercial rights-holder Formula One Management (FOM), will begin with the 2013 season and ends a 17-year spell where the sport has been televised in the US by cable sports channel Speed.
New Jersey’s removal reduces the 2013 calendar to 19 races, but Formula One is set to have no shortage of takers should it seek a replacement. Ecclestone is known to be in talks over a Mexican Grand Prix, with the sport currently experiencing a huge rise in popularity in the country due to the exploits of Sauber driver Sergio Perez, who will race for McLaren next season. Turkey’s Istanbul Park circuit has also been linked to a return having staged F1 from 2007 to 2011. The facility was regarded as one of the sport’s best, but promotional difficulties meant it attracted poor attendances throughout its initial deal.
F1 drops New Jersey race from 2013 calendar